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India Warns Global Data Analytics Firms Against Meddling in Country's Elections

© REUTERS / Henry Nicholls / The nameplate of political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, is seen in central London, Britain
The nameplate of political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, is seen in central London, Britain - Sputnik International
The Hindustan Times, in a recent report, questioned what business Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had with Cambridge Analytica. The report has prompted a stern response from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is wary over the possible exploitation of data analytics by global firms during the upcoming General Elections.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — India has strongly warned data analytics firms against any abuse of social media in the country's elections, following reports that a British consultancy had improperly accessed information about millions of Facebook users to target US voters.

"In the wake of recent data theft from Facebook, let my stern warning be heard across the Atlantic, far away in California. Any covert or overt attempt to misuse social media including Facebook to influence India's electoral process through undesirable means will neither be tolerated nor be permitted," India's Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said during a press conference on Wednesday.

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India is going to the polls in 2019 and media reports suggest that India's oldest political party — the Indian National Congress (INC) led by Rahul Gandhi — is in touch with London-based Cambridge Analytica for data analysis. 

"Will Congress party depend upon data manipulation and theft to win votes? Mr. Rahul Gandhi should explain the role of Cambridge Analytica in his social media profile," Minister Prasad said pointing a finger at the INC, now in the opposition.   

Prasad quoted a Hindustan Times report, wherein it is claimed that the firm has its eyes set on wooing politicians in South Asia. Meanwhile, the INC has categorically denied the allegation.

"Indian National Congress or the Congress President has never used or never hired the services of a company called Cambridge Analytica. It is a fake agenda and white lie being dished out by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad," Randeep Surjewala, spokesperson of the INC told the media.  

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